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Do Patent Rights allow Monopolies in Capitalism?

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Sebastian posted on Tue, Oct 2 2012 5:03 AM

 

I believe the market is very much like evolution - the best producers of goods and services strengthen while their competitors challenge them or die out. One of the main arguments against capitalism is the issue of monopolies and their power over their competitors. If there is a lack of competition then prices and quality can become unfair and unchallenged. Although this is rarely the case because there is almost always competition, there is an issue with market 'monopolies' that can prevent the evolution in the market - patents. Say a technological company supplies the best products in their line of industry, they then obtain patent rights to privatize the next innovative designs and ideas in their line of industry. Their competitors are now restricted to out perform them. In this way a monopoly can be established with the power of the law preventing competitors to out-perform them.

I can understand the value of patents for inventors, but the misuse of them in terms of market evolution is very uneconomical.

I wanted to get some opinions on patents in an ideal market. How do you think they would work best (if at all) in an ideal market?

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Patents would not exist in a free market. Think about what a patent (or any form of intellectual property) really is. It is a "right" to tell others what they may not do with their actual property. If someone violates this "right," aggression can and will be used against the "offender." Intellectual property is a monopoly, which in a more original meaning of the word, meant a government-granted privilege. This privilege (backed by force) was often all that was needed to make competitors unprofitable and driven out of the market. Thus, a patent is a monopoly, would not exist in a free society, and isn't really helpful in any way to a society.

The only one worth following is the one who leads... not the one who pulls; for it is not the direction that condemns the puller, it is the rope that he holds.

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Yeah, we're no friends of patents here.

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Wheylous:

Yeah, we're no friends of patents here.

I can understand why. However, if someone had an inventive or innovative idea but did not have the resources to produce it, how could their ideas ever come into fruition? If they tried to pitch it or sell it to those who can produce it, how could it be protected from theft without some form of patent or copyright?

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Suggested by limitgov

"Do Patent Rights allow Monopolies in a Free Market?"

 

You question is flawed.  If there are patents being enforced it is not a free market.

 

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limitgov:

"Do Patent Rights allow Monopolies in a Free Market?"

 

You question is flawed.  If there are patents being enforced it is not a free market.

 

I understand that now. I have changed the title of the thread to better fit my intended context.

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"I understand that now. I have changed the title of the thread to better fit my intended context."

But, by capitalism, do you mean free markets?  what do you mean by capitalism?

 

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you can always sign a contract so they cant steal the idea

Eat the apple, fuck the Corps. I don't work for you no more!
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Jargon replied on Tue, Oct 2 2012 10:51 AM

Exactly. People act as though every inventor would get screwed because his potential investors would run away with his idea. It's very simple: inventors figure out that they ought to show no one their ideas without a contractual obligation to not use it. The repeal of patent law would mean in the medium-term, after people got wise, was that market-giants couldn't sit on knowledge to the exclusion of competitors, knowledge which they may not necessarily have even created but bought from others.

Land & Liberty

The Anarch is to the Anarchist what the Monarch is to the Monarchist. -Ernst Jünger

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Not sure I agree completely here. A patent allows someone to own an idea. It's not an illegitimately enforced monopoly any more than you owning a house is an illegitimately enforced monopoly.

If patent laws go away entirely, the incentive to share new knowledge with the community in exchange for a limited grant of sole-use over that knowledge will go away and everyone will suffer.

Even in a free society, something like patent could still exist, because it is prima facie ownership, just ownership of something that's very difficult to own, an idea.

Autarchy: rule of the self by the self; the act of self ruling.
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grant.w.underwood:

you can always sign a contract so they cant steal the idea

So inventor A signs contract with B to not tell his idea to anyone.

B tells C and C makes a business using that idea.

Now A sues B for losses, including all the money C's making, but A cannot then injunct C from making the product, even though A came up with the idea, thus homesteading it?

 

Autarchy: rule of the self by the self; the act of self ruling.
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MaikU replied on Tue, Oct 2 2012 1:02 PM

One can not steal an idea. It's unownable thing.

"Dude... Roderick Long is the most anarchisty anarchist that has ever anarchisted!" - Evilsceptic

(english is not my native language, sorry for grammar.)

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Right, because it doesn't exhibit scarcity like property does.

The only one worth following is the one who leads... not the one who pulls; for it is not the direction that condemns the puller, it is the rope that he holds.

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One cannot steal an idea if it is not divulged, this is true.

But, let's say that an idea is like a tract of land that is unscarce but can only produce a certain amount of money despite its unscarcity, and the more people use it, despite its unscarcity, the more diluted its value becomes.

It is the use of that idea that gets diluted. The producer of an idea would normally have to keep that idea completely secret in order to profit from it.

I think we should look at patents much the way that we look at a property claim.

A property claim is claim to land that you're not yet using but land that you plan to use, to mix your labor with, in the relatively short-term. There's no reason why people should respect a property claim, except that they want others to respect their claim. There's nothing in homesteading theory that supports the idea of respecting a claim, but it translates theory into reality. Because in practice there's always a time delay between starting to till land and when the full farm is put in. And if you couldn't have X number of acres farmed, because somoene else grabbed your claim before you could till it, you would never have begun tilling at all.

With an idea, like an invention, though ideas are not scarce we make this bargain with people: disclose your invention or idea such that anyone can use it, and in return we'll give you an exclusive right to use that idea for a set term.

I think we'd lose something very valuable indeed if patents or something like them are indeed considered ultimately incompatible with a free society.

Autarchy: rule of the self by the self; the act of self ruling.
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Ok, so people should own their inventions for their entire lives? In fact, they can also keep selling the rights to the idea, so the patent control can extend centuries. Correct? Like home ownership. Right?

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